Tuesday, 10 May 2011

People On A Sunday (1929)



People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag) is a 1929 German silent movie, directed by Curt and Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer and Fred Zinnemann from a screenplay by Billy Wilder. This film was done by amateurs but nevertheless caused a bustle in even the Hollywood film industry.

People on a Sunday, as it is halfway a documentary, follows the lives of a group of residents of Berlin on a summer's day during the interwar period. It is a pivotal film not only in the development of German cinema but also of Hollywood. In addition to the Siodmak brothers and Wilder, the film features the talents of Edgar G. Ulmer (producer), Fred Zinnemann (cinematography) and Eugen Sch├╝fftan.They wrote the script in their spare time and filmed most of it as they partied over a succession of Sundays. The movie is subtitled "a film without actors”, meaning that the five main characters weren’t working actors or actresses, had other jobs, this film being their first appearance on screen.

The significance of this film is not specifically the script or the acting or even the actors themselves; just the fact that these amateur filmmakers were so intent on making a, so to say, ‘montage’ of shots that they found beautiful, is valuable for the pure creativity and vigor which it represents. Considering this film became extremely influential as the first independent film ever made, it is interesting in this aspect and maybe just extremely important to consider what is possible with very little when making films.

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